• Dr. Teresa Van Woy


The wind blew my hair across my back. They’re grabbing me! Stop! Please! Please! Please! Please! God, please help me!

I tried squeezing my body tighter so hands couldn’t reach in to grab me, but couldn’t stop the rampant convulsing. God! Please!

I had to think of something else. They’re not real! They’re not real.  I’m brave. Go away! You’re not real. You’re just my imagination.

The cold pierced deep in my bones. I pictured myself frozen solid with Mom standing above me, crying, asking herself how she could have done such a thing. Stop. Quit thinking that. The yard became darker and darker as, one by one, lights shut off in each unit. The faces are gonna get me for sure. God, please help me. I’m gonna die! My tears flowed. They felt warm against my cold skin. I could taste the familiar salt as they ran past my lips. Think of daylight. Think of the sun. The warm sun. Imagine a hot, sunny day. God, please help me.

I buried my head under my arms and thought back to the summer trips we took in the camper – all those times I’d be lying on the upper bed, too hot to move. I thought of the cracked earth in the Arizona desert. The time all ten of our noses bled at a rest area from the dry heat. It was so hot. Think of that heat again.

I imagined the sun shining down on me, so bright and warm, and imagined feeling the heat as it touched the back of my head. I envisioned the icicles melting from my hair, and felt the warmth as it continued down my shoulders and my back. The darkness under my eyelids became orange as the sun continued to shine brightly and work its way along my body. One by one, the faces surrounding me exploded in the air, then disintegrated into tiny pieces. Since they only came out at night, I knew the sunshine had the power to make them disappear.

I pictured the yellow rays of the sun surround me, and wrap around my body like a soft blanket, swaddling and holding me as if I were a baby. My body relaxed as it warmed. The tense muscles softened. I continued dreaming of the sunshine until I finally drifted to sleep.



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